The Houghton horse trials sealed its reputation as one of the hottest international equestrian challenges on the calendar with some fierce competition between overseas and UK riders over the weekend.
The big prize, the FEI Nations Cup, produced a convincing win for the New Zealand team when equestrian legend Mark Todd topped the individual leaderboard, riding NZB Campino, and team mate Lizzie Brown took second place.
The only rider in the class to beat the cross country optimum time, Lizzie was thrilled with the result.
She said:“It was great to be part of such a cool team. The Nations Cup is a really fun concept and we kept the pressure on each other all weekend.”
Second place on the podium went to the German team.
The British team was unable to defend their unbeaten record at Houghton, finishing in third place, ahead of the French.
The Nations Cup was just one element of four days of non-stop competition in the stunning parkland surrounding Houghton Hall.
Around 700 horses had been entered for the trials - completing dressage tests, show-jumping rounds and tackling the gruelling cross country course.
Riders included Olympians and champions from the UK and overseas.
In addition, there were hundreds of entries in other equestrian classes which included the Norfolk Festival of Showing, show jumping combined training and sections for potential eventing horses.
Another of the trials sections produced a thrilling finish with one show jump pole separating the top eight at the end of the cross country. Lincolnshire’s Ros Canter on Cekatinka held her nerve and her place at the top of the table to secure the win when joint leader Tim Cheffings’s ride Donateur lowered the first part of the final treble.
It left the door open for Pippa Funnell to snatch second place. One Olympic team member who was less lucky was Tina Cook, who fell at the water jump and got a drenching.
Wet weather on Saturday threatened to put a damper on the competition but plenty of die-hard fans braved conditions to cheer on their favourite riders and horses.
n For more pictures see Friday’s Lynn News.